Or perhaps a tea towel?
This fabric came from a local garage sale, labelled ‘Vintage cotton, 2.5 m x 90 cm, $5’. It’s a lovely weight and seems like a strong sturdy weave, almost like linen, but without the ‘stretching out after sitting’ properties of linen. I tested this over lunch with He who Cooks at The Pot (an old favourite that is highly recommended!)
It might be more suitable for upholstery or wiping dishes but it really wanted to be a sheath dress. I had a sheath dress pattern that needed a bit of tweaking to fit me better, new red sandals and an old red handbag that would look great with this fabric and a long yellow vintage zip in my notions stash. So… what was there to lose?
Pattern: BurdaStyle 03-2009-107
I had made this pattern previously and had increased the side seams over my hips by 1 cm each side, based on flat pattern measures. The dress turned out too big, so I took it in back in. It was also big through the waist and the zip sat out from my neck. So this time I made a few changes:
1. Back to the original side seams (but then I had to take them out again for this dress by 1 cm??? Why? Differences in fabric?? Inaccurate cutting out? Using 5/8 inch instead of 15 mm seams allowances??).
2. I made a 15 mm sway back adjustment (I left the skirt on the straight grain). This worked fine.
3. I added two 20 mm wide darts at the neck, going down to nothing, 6 cm down (I moved the darts to the centre back seam). This worked okay, but the angle was a bit sharp and the dart should have been a bit longer to smooth the profile out. But no gaping now at the back neck! Just a bit more tweaking with this pattern and I might get it right!
4. I used a yellow zip inherited from my mum ( so that was ‘vintage’ too!) and exposed it – I sewed it in with about 5 mm of the zipper tape showing on both sides, next to the yellow stripe in the fabric. You can see more of the stripe in the bodice above the waist, because the swayback adjustment I made put this part of the dress off grain.
5. I added a walking slit/vent, and I quite like the way you can see a little bit of the yellow stripe again as the slit opens.
6. The sleeves were cut out almost on the cross grain to line up with the stripes in the front and back bodice. The stripes don’t match on the shoulders, but the ‘T’ effect across the front and back is worth it, I think.
7. I added 10 cm to the length and then took it up 7 cm, so it has ended up being only 3 cm longer than drafted.
Ah, the problems of taking photos too soon after construction no matter how much you check beforehand, there are still loose threads, and your photographer still takes your photo even when you are annoyedly removing them..